KEVIN TATE: Outdoor loot turns all of us into kids at Christmas

By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer

The old saying that planning a trip is half the fun couldn’t be more true than around Christmastime. Walking through stores or leafing through catalogs, gear both utilitarian and extraordinary helps paint mental images of what could be. The thought of carrying away the best of the lot and taking the first step to turn potential excitement into kinetic adventure is something I always enjoy.
As a youngster, looking through the pictures and hearing the descriptions read from Herter’s catalog, that original outdoorsman’s book of dreams, the imaginary world of future trips was boundless. It only takes a little motivation to remind ourselves it still is. While it may not be practical to run away to coastal Argentina and become Robinson Crusoe full time via C.O.D., now that we have passed the age at which it would be convenient to and reached the age when we don’t want to, there’s still a world of adventure at our fingertips. In fact, there always has been.
Nationwide, populations of game both large and small are almost uniformly on the rise. From waterfowl and whitetail to elk, grouse, pheasant and more, the game is out there. Further, some of the very best of it is right here.
For countless hunting adventurers who’ve traveled the world over, the springtime pursuit of the wild turkey, our nation’s most-popular game bird, often far outranks any other quest in terms of absolute challenge and pound-for-pound adrenaline. Their population in Mississippi is both excellent and rising. Chances are, almost anywhere you’d be able to hunt whitetails is likely to hold wild turkeys as well.
If you’ve run out of somewhere new to fish, swing by Clay’s Bait and Tackle on Veteran’s Boulevard in Tupelo for a wealth of knowledge on the what, where, when and how surrounding some of the best freshwater fishing in our state.
Backpacking trips, whether around Tombigbee State Park right here at home, along the Appalachian Trail to the east, the Grand Canyon to the west or countless other destinations between and beyond are possible nearly any time of year.
Whatever you choose, don’t overlook the opportunity to take someone new to the outdoors with you. When you make the introduction, you’ll remember the excitement yourself all over again.
Besides, sharing the challenges and the memories is where the real trophies are, after all.
Kevin Tate is V.P. of Media Productions for Mossy Oak in West Point.